I've lived in Arizona and California all of my adult life. And I just love looking at these places. It doesn't matter how many times I've seen the Pacific Coast Highway, or the Estrella Mountains, I want to see them again, and again.
But it's only been in recent years that I've realized that what I'm seeing is very different from what most people see. Yeah, I'm weird. If you would like to be a little bit weird, or your think that you may already be, come along with me, and let's see stuff.
Let's go see Arizona. If you live in Phoenix, you may be saying, "Great! Let's go to the Grand Canyon!" And yes, the Grand Canyon is great, but my first thought is "what about right here?" and the most common response is "there's nothing to see here!" I used to hear that in Los Angeles, too. There was so much for me to see in Los Angeles, and there's so much to see in Phoenix that I can get very excited about it. If you agree, yeah, you're weird, too.
Usually people want to go to a destination. The most common thing I see is people who want to go to a big building where they can watch other people play a game. And since I've never had the slightest interest in doing that, most people consider me pretty weird. Sitting inside of a stadium watching other people play a game isn't what I would consider fun. I've often said that if I had a son who was playing in the SuperBowl, I'd be a good dad and go watch, but that would be about it.
Another thing that's common is the desire for people to go to a museum. Now, don't get me wrong, I love museums, but it's something I'd like to do on a rainy day. And it's usually sunny in Phoenix and LA!
Then there's the "gift shop" people. I've often been to fascinating places, like Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, only to find that I'm being encouraged to go to the gift shop. A lot of time people want to show me the rack of postcards, or a book about the place. I tend to apologize quietly, and go wander off to actually see the place. Many times people have seen me as rude, but gift shops don't interest me, and if I wanted to look at a photo, or read a book, I'd be home. I want to see the real thing.
I've gotten to see some incredible places in my life, and I'm hoping to see a lot more. Recently I rode the Phoenix Sky Train at Sky Harbor, just for the experience, just to ride the train high above the city I love. I went with a friend of mine who is also a middle-aged guy going on 13, and he did a video while I grinned so much that my face hurt afterwards.
I understand why people don't see things. They can't look away from what they have been taught is important. And maybe that's what happens to grownups. They learn how to always be looking for practical things, like stop lights. I like looking at mountains. Maybe you should drive.
Image at the top of this post: The Estrella Mountains from downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
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